Interesting Facts About Computers
A computer is an instrument that is programmed to perform logical or numeric operations automatically. Modern computers are able to execute generic sets of instructions called programs. These programs enable machines to do a wide array of common tasks. The computer hardware stores data and the application software to use the memory to store the commands. The computer system can be partitioned into microcomputers or mainframes.
In the early years, the computer was an enormous storage device in itself. Early personal computers used magnetic tape to hold the data and this storage device was rather large. Data could not be retrieved easily and it took many hours before the user could get access to his work. Another storage device that was used was the floppy disc.
Today, memory capacity has vastly improved and modern computers make use of stored procedures to run applications. There are two kinds of hard disk storage devices that have come up in recent years – the hard disk drive and the non-volatile RAM (nonvolatile RAM). The hard disk drive is considered to be the most economic storage device as it does not require the access to physical storage devices and is therefore termed the primary storage device. On the other hand, the non-volatile RAM is an economical storage device but is attached to the CPU and thus becomes the main storage device.
Large computers are divided into small components called terminals or microcomputers. They consist of a main frame computer which is responsible for managing large databases and information; input and output devices that provide the capability to send and receive data from different parts of the main frame computer; input and control systems that allow the operating machines to send signals to the hardware and also to determine their action; storage facilities that provide the capability to store applications and data; memory that store the results obtained by the programs executed on the main frame computer; and other elements that become the elements of the operating system or a virtual machine. Virtual machines are an application that runs inside the main frame computer and executes the program written on the main frame computer. Since the execution of a virtual machine is faster than that of an actual application, most modern computers with large storage capacity can execute virtual machine applications much faster than a normal application written on a personal computer.
It is quite interesting to know that there is a difference between the common desktop computer and a laptop computer. Desktop computers usually have only one processor and are usually equipped with a standard hard drive. Laptops have several processors and RAMs that are interconnected through a network or through a USB port. Desktop computers have less storage capacity than laptops. Laptop computer’s hard drive is more robust and hence the laptop can store more data than a desktop computer.
A minicomputer is one type of computer that uses random access memory or RAM for its operating system. The tech pages explain that a minicomputer is generally much smaller than the typical desktops. Minicomputers are mostly used in educational institutions to run educational software. Some of the popular minicomputers include the Sun 3 and the IBM mainframe.